Project contact – Victoria Martin  | | 01752 588936

Plymouth is one of the largest universities in the country with around 27,000 students studying a variety of courses from fine art to physiotherapy, business to biology, and design to dentistry.   Our roots go back more than 150 years to the School of Navigation, our modernity and students give us energy, direction and freedom to define our strategic priorities and values. We deliver high quality research-led and professionally-relevant teaching. A stimulating student experience ensures challenge, personal development, and employment success.

Project summary

The Widening Participation through Skills Project aims to improve pathways from vocational programmes to higher education and to increase access for all to higher level skills training through innovative and flexible access routes which address barriers to participation. This project will particularly target those least likely to access HE including part-time employees, older workers and other disengaged and disadvantaged groups.

Project Targets:  1,806 participants undertaking an awareness raising activity, 603 participants gaining a level 3 or above or a unit of a level 3 and above qualification.

This is an Open Call project until December 2018

Participant eligibility

  • The focus of the project is working with employed or self-employed participants.
  • By exception, a small proportion of participants can be unemployed or economically inactive, e.g. response to redundancy, higher level skills need.
  • Without a relevant qualification at Level 4.
  • There are no fixed prior attainment requirements.
  • Activities must be delivered in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
  • Priority groups: employed females, participants aged 54 and over, participants from ethnic minorities, participants with disabilities & single adult household with dependent children.

Referral routes

The majority of referrals will come via the delivery partners’ outreach work in which they have established a strong track record of relationship development with relevant organisations and experience of targeting services directly to the heart of disadvantaged areas and working in collaboration with partner organisations.

Delivery Partners

Cornwall College – Higher Skills Champion and WP Lead: Kate Poole 01209 617758

3 Strands of delivery
• Pre Access workshops and on programme Access support and mentoring in HE cold spots/areas of multiple disadvantage.
• Work with both employers and vocational and advanced apprentices to help strengthen pathways to higher apprenticeship in Engineering and Food Studies.
• Providing innovative and inspirational workshops and relevant accredited units and modules for underemployed and aspirational employed individuals across Cornwall. Specific subjects covered include Engineering and Construction, Health and Nutrition, Leadership across all sectors, Lean, Food Studies and web development.

Truro and Penwith College – Access to Higher Level Skills Coordinator: Madeline Richardson 01872 308289

• Delivery of subject-specific Taster Sessions, aligned to the College’s subject specialisms and learner demand.
• Higher Level Skills Days to prepare learners who are returning to education or who have never previously studied at a higher level for the transition into study.
• Provision of individual information, advice and guidance sessions to support project participants to identify their next steps for career development, re-training or upskilling.
• Liaison with local employers to promote workforce development in higher level skills and develop packages of guidance and support for individual employees.
• Development of bespoke awareness and aspiration raising activities with partner organisations.

Higher Level Skills at Truro and Penwith College.

University of Exeter – Project Lead: Jim Grant, Head of Business Development in Cornwall 01326253757; Project Support Officer: Charlotte Bailey 01326 370412

The focus of delivery will be to target disadvantaged groups and communities to raise awareness of higher education opportunities by developing pathways and reducing/removing barriers to participation. We will do this through links between the partners to provide key sector based outcomes which impact upon an individual’s ability to access HE.

The University of Exeter will achieve this through outreach activities, such as in-community learning, taster sessions and e-learning. These will be developed in relation to smart specialisations, emerging sectors and STEM disciplines, which will enable disadvantaged groups to improve their employability and access to high value jobs. Activities will be delivered across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly with particular interventions aimed at the region’s HE cold spots in particular St Austell/Clay Villages and mid-Cornwall. Interventions will also be targeted in Camborne, Pool and Redruth.